Take a bite out of this gritty city--trust me, it tastes better than it sounds! New Tours have been posted through the year--join me, won't you?
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to an event at a restaurant in Chelsea that I'd passed many times, but never made it into. The event was a ham and wine tasting, but not like the kind of ham you get at your local deli, unless that local deli happens to be in Spain. No, we were treated to some of the finest Jamon Iberico (Iberian Ham) that you can find, from Cinco Juntas. Paired with some really lovely wines.
The beautiful Albariño from Bodegas del Palacio was the perfect summer white, which on the hot muggy day was what I spent most of the evening drinking. But I couldn't leave without tasting the red, which I almost regretted not having more of during the event. The 2008 Rioja was a Cerro Añón Gran Reserva from Bodegas Olarra that was a perfect complement to the richness of the ham, while remaining perfectly drinkable on its own, a classic Rioja wine.
Along with the luscious wines and award-winning ham, Chef Luis Bollo, of Salinas took his inspiration from the salty, melt-in-your-mouth swine and created some very tasty passed bites. We were treated to Croquetas Fundientes de Hiberico y Maiz (Roasted Corn & Ham Croquettes); Tosta de Bonito con Dulce de Tomate, Hiberico y Caviar de Trufa (Crustini with sweet tomato, bonito tuna, ham and truffle caviar); and my personal favorite, that I had about 4 or 5 of, the Chupito de Salmorejo (Cordoba-style gazpacho shoot with ham, hard-boiled egg, croutons & olive oil). And while I did munch on a good deal of these treats, they did a good job in leaving me wanting for more.
The event itself was done very well. I think that it lasted just long enough, where we got to enjoy the food, drinks and beautiful venue and the company that was there. The representatives from both 5J and Salinas were all very engaging and seemed genuinely interested to be there. And did I mention how lovely the space is? It's an enclosed garden room, taking you off into a fantasy land that just happens to be in the middle of Manhattan. After the intimate event my friends and I had whetted our appetites just enough to seek out some of their larger tapas plates, and perhaps get something other than jamon inside of our bellies!
Unfortunately I didn't get any shots of our dishes when we went back into the restaurant, BUT I can tell you that it was all beautiful and absolutely delicious. The patatas bravas was, in fact, so good that my friend refused to share hers with me so I had to get an order of my own. One of the quintessential Spanish tapas, this dish was so beautifully done, from the perfect cut on the potatoes that were treated with the perfect balance of their spicy "brava sauce" a tomato based sauce & a drizzle of creamy aioli to cool it down, I was happy to not have to share with her in the end! I also ordered the alcachofas fritas (fried artichokes), which were very good, but in comparison to the patatas and then the Negros y Curjientes (Catalan crispy vermicelli, shaved sepia, watercress squid ink broth, aioli), it was a little bit lost, but I was just trying to get some veggies in. We sipped our wine and indulged in the food before us until we just couldn't anymore. And I know a lot of people can't "get full" from tapas, but they just aren't doing it right and filling their bellies with pork eats beforehand! I would also like to mention that before I went into the event I had a drink at the bar, which was expertly crafted by a very talented bartender, whose name is escaping me now. And although I don't know that I would order the Romero y Limon again, it was a very nice summer cocktail to start off the evening. I shall certainly return to Salinas, now that I know what I've been missing. And I look forward to more events from Boucher & Co, thanks for the invite!
Well I just wanted to post a quick update as I'm finally fit enough to be able to run my tours again beginning in August! I look forward to having you and yours on a tour soon, if you haven't been already! Recovering from this injury has been a long journey, and it's not over yet! BUT I think, after spending a couple of hours at The Met a week ago, that I should be able to manage one of my tours. Many thanks to the guides who've helped me through this process: Susan, Riley, John & Jocelyn! And to everyone else who's helped get me back on my feet, literally! I definitely don't wish this experience on anyone, except for my enemies--you know who you are! ;)
I'd also like to let you all know that the Fall tours have been posted as well, so you may book your Hell's Kitchen adventure now! I've already received requests about December tours, but I'll probably post those within the next month or so--as soon as the dates for this years holiday market are posted.
Hope to see you all soon!
Almost three years ago I started taking comedy writing classes--the same time I started working for City Food Tours, and then preparing to be a tour guide myself! Since then I've been struggling to find a way to combine my two passions--food and comedy. Then a few months ago I realized that a lot of the chefs I know are rather funny and a lot of the funny people I know are really into food and thus the idea was created! Make the food people be funny and the funny people make food! :) So, I found the perfect venue on the Upper West Side, which happens to be managed by my sister, and spoke with the owner and started booking the talent. Well--now I have a show to put on!
Of course, it's rather appropriate that the first show of the New Year features two food pros who are known for a healthier relationship with the edibles. Christy Harrison is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with her own podcast about the psychology of food, which I'll touch on more tomorrow, and she'll be battling with her improv chops against Nicholas Feitel, who'll be recognized by Bethenny Frankel fans as her former chunky food blogger who lost over 60 pounds with a little help from his friends!
Our funny ladies, however, are more known for their comedy stylings on the prestige Upright Citizens Brigade stages. But the daring broads will be taking on a mystery box cooking challenge with 5 junk food ingredients that I'm already nervous about tasting! Johnna Scrabis, who's a very funny improviser on the UCB Harold team, Side-Piece, has not even bothered to tell me how much (or how little?) skill she has in the kitchen. And her counterpart, Sarah Wharton, who was on the 1st all-female house improv team at UCB, Detroit, promises she's an "avid home cook", but if she lives alone, that's not saying much.
All of this is going down on Mondays at 9pm, starting on January 5th at the legendary West End Lounge. Located on the Upper West Side, we're sandwiched between one hell of a line up for anyone into the arts, and of course, F&B! Before The Food Funny, you can check out Bound for Broadway, where you'll catch tomorrow's big superstars. Then, after the show, you can get drunk at the hand of my sister who's on bar starting at 10pm. And if you're in the service industry yourself, you can stick around for Service Industry Night, which gets you 50% off drinks after midnight! Which is when Midnight Movie Massacre begins as well!
You should definitely come out for the show that's only a $5 cover (I gotta pay for that food somehow) and a $15 food/drink minimum. You're not gonna get a better deal like this on the UWS, I guarantee it! :)
I know that Thanksgiving is considered to be the holy holiday of food. It is a day in which we, Americans, are to sit down with our family and friends and whatever others you've invited to the table and break bread or just consume broken bread in the form of stuffing. There aren't traditionally any gift exchanges going on, but of course the last few years has seen the consumer madness known as Black Friday turn into a whole week-long event that includes our beloved Turkey Day. But I'm not going to rant about that--enough people in the world do, and it's got little to do with the food part of things. Instead I just wanted to say that I'm thankful for this whole season.
Sure, it's a cray time of year--especially for someone who works in the hospitality business. This is the craziest time! But it's also, often the most fun time! Especially in New York City! Thanksgiving was the beginning (or if you're young enough to appreciate a party night, I suppose Thanksgiving Eve was the start for you--but I was busy battling a chest cold to be drinking all night). We have the parade here, which of course most New Yorkers enjoy just like the rest of the country--from the comfort of their own homes. And then the many drinking establishments that are open to comfort you after you day of family dealings.
And then you hit December, and tonight we start the many festivities that will take us through the Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanza/New Year's season!
Tonight, I'll be trying my best to head down to the Upper West Side for the 15th annual Winter's Eve event! There's always so much to see and do, and I suggest getting there early as the crowds to come and the food will run out! You know if I'm there, there's tasty food on hand, but there's also tons of music, and plenty of festive fun!
Tomorrow, I'll be back in the Lincoln Square area as it is the first day of the Columbus Circle Holiday Market! And as I take my Festive Food & Holiday Fun tour there, I've gotta scout out the best food that the market has to offer!
Course, Wednesday starts the madness of the holiday party season and so I'll be going back and forth between Holiday Tours and Holiday Parties. The Fall tours are now over, except for one this weekend--so if you're interested on checking out the last Fall Tour of 2014, book today there are only 8 slots left! Of course, if you're more into the holiday spirit then you can come along on the holiday tour anytime after tomorrow!
I hope to see you soon!